'NYT' boosts Virgin Islands tourism

Our client is the US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, and its media goals are to target the top-tier media outlets that really drive vacationers all year round.

Who is your client? What are its media goals?
Yale Frederiksen: Our client is the US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, and its media goals are to target the top-tier media outlets that really drive vacationers all year round.

What made the Practical Travel column such a good hit? How did you pitch columnist Michelle Higgins?Frederiksen: New York is a particularly valuable market to the US Virgin Islands because of the number of direct flights servicing the destination from John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. While we've worked with [Higgins]... before, given the overall economic downturn, this time we came to her with a specific promotion tied to an affordable Caribbean vacations theme.

Did you media train US Virgin Islands tourism officials or arrange a press trip for Higgins?
Frederiksen: We didn't have to set up any interviews and [Higgins] doesn't accept trips, keeping in line with the Times' policy. But we did direct her to a microsite for the US Virgin Islands Winter Escape promotion, where consumers could get deals such as $300 in travelers' checks. We also followed up with [Higgins] in early January with statistics on how the economic turmoil was impacting US Virgin Islands tourism.

What was the impact of the hit?
Frederiksen:
The column on deals available for Caribbean vacationers ran in the Times' Sunday travel section, and the US Virgin Islands... was the first thing mentioned. The piece resulted in a surge in visits to the microsite, as well as other queries about vacations to the islands.

Name: Yale Frederiksen, senior account executive at M Booth & Associates (New York)

Placement: The New York Times, Practical Traveler column, January 25

Pitch timeline: Three months

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